Austin High School will reopen for in-person learning Thursday, after coronavirus closure


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District announced Austin High School would reopen for in-person learning on Thursday, after being closed for three days due to a spike in coronavirus cases.

The announcement was made on Wednesday afternoon, in a letter from the Austin High School Principal Amy Taylor and Director of Health Services Alexandra Copeland.

District officials said they tested almost 300 students and staff for COVID-19. As of Wednesday afternoon, four tests have come back positive.

According to the letter, the district performed contact tracing and concluded there was “no evidence of transmission from on-campus activities,” resulting in the decision to reopen the campus. They noted the campus had been “thoroughly cleaned and sanitized” during the closure.

Maura Masters teaches English as a Second Language at Austin High School. She said she’s worried how her students are handling last-minute schedule changes like this one. For instance, she told KXAN that none of her students logged on at the right time for one of her classes on Monday.

“They don’t understand. They miss the details: what’s going on, why it’s going on,” she explained.

Masters is working from home this semester “on accommodations” from the district, but said many of her colleagues were hoping the campus would stay closed for the rest of the week.

“Not that we don’t like seeing kids. We are teachers — we wouldn’t have signed up for the gig if we didn’t want to see kids. But we just want to be safe,” she said. “At some point they just need to say, ‘This is just not fair to people, in general.’ To not know where they are going to work tomorrow.”

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